Prince Malik Ado-Ibrahim
Once again we see our national security architecture being laid bare right in front of our eyes. The most worrisome part of this is that it’s also been laid bare in front of our enemies and adversaries within and outside the country.
Yesterday an astonishing allegation was publicly laid out on The BBC by the National Security Advisor to the President, Major General Monguno Rtd. In his broadcast on this international medium, he claims that the previous service chiefs just retired by the President, who should have been working under his purview, had either diverted funds or not acquired weapons that were destined for the Nigerian armed forces. Sadly, such stories we have heard over and over again, year after year; this is nothing new sadly. Now we are again being told that such shenanigans took place over the last six years by service chiefs of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Didn’t we just go through this in the Badeh era?
As if that is not disturbing enough to contemplate, it is just simply inexplicable to most concerned Nigerians, as to why the National Security Advisor would make such wild accusations publicly and internationally. Such utterances embarrass not just his boss the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to whom he reports to directly, but he has deemed it fit to alert our enemies that such deficien-cies do exist within the armed forces of Nigeria. Ultimately it gives pause to those that supply arms to Nigeria, that either we are absolutely corrupt even down to the leadership of our armed forces, or we have an extremely porous and dangerous situation on our hands that could have dire consequences, if left unattended to. We have now aired our dirty laundry publicly.
As a matter of fact, one of the principal jobs of the National Security Advisor to the President is in the issuance of what is known as an EUC or End User Certificate. This document assures military suppliers and countries that the goods being purchased are being done with the full authority, knowledge and permission of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. These goods are either of a defensive or offensive nature, anything from a bulletproof car or Armored vest, to a bullet, tank, aircraft, war-ship or AK 47.
The service chiefs that this blame has been laid in front of and about, jointly served with this same NSA for six years with no such public complainant, so either the NSA did NOT issue the EUC for these missing arms that he has highlighted to the world, or he is directly inferring that the money was stolen. The other option is that the products were indeed imported with the correct documentation from his office and there was no oversight by his office to see that these arms were delivered to the end-user it was meant for.
Clearly there has been a failure of monumental proportions within the security architecture of this country and most horribly, now the whole world knows that we are either incapable or that we are absolutely not to be trusted even in the security of our own nation. It is very hard to even write such an open document as a concerned citizen of this country, to state that we categorically don’t have the right people doing the most basic bidding of a government that is the security of the nation and its citizenry.
If the NSA has found it fit to go on television and make these announcements, who exactly is he trying to inform? His boss, the second citizen of this nation or even the third and fourth citizen of this nation? Or is he so concerned that he’s trying to inform the whole nation or the international community by going public with these wild allegations. Even if true, it is so wildly irresponsible to just have it out there in the public domain, on the Internet, on the radio, in the papers, on television for the whole world to see and hear. Above all, all this does is to instill further fear into an already shaken nation that is uncomfortable about all the kidnapping, banditry and commercialized crime that goes on on a day-to-day basis, unabated in Nigeria.
The job of the National Security Advisor to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not an elected position, but it’s a position full of trust and solemn regard given to individuals that have the upmost best interest of Nigeria at heart. In fact over the existence of this nation, most of the national security advisors have been names without faces, invisible individuals doing the best to secure our nation by reporting daily to the President about all threats, be they economic or of a military nature.
In the last two weeks the current NSA has seen it fit to go on television and threaten those that have been holding our children to ransom, claiming that he has the intelligence needed to identify them and giving them a final warning to cease and desist from any further kidnapping or banditry. At that time most of us were somewhat dumbfounded to know that we actually had intelligence that could have led to the apprehension of these individuals, but still a warning was given to these people. By design, intelligence is gathered as a preemptive measure to stop, halt or execute any potential threat, therefore it is a proactive tool. It is not designed as a reactive element, once crimes have been committed. At the point when that first televised announcement was made, we all wondered who “the cats whiskers” belonged to and who exactly was “rocky on the perch”. Who was the NSA actually speaking to then?
Now this second very visible, very loud, very disturbing pronouncement requires that we asked the same question again, to whom is the NSA actually speaking to by making these pronouncements? Why didn’t he inform the Senate and the House of these allegations when the Service Chiefs were being sworn in as ambassadors earlier this month? Did he actually inform Mr. President of his findings, or did he inform any of the other high-ranking officials within the administration of this very troubling fact? There are a myriad of other questions that beg to be answered, but it’s clear that we as a nation are in serious trouble and we need to find answers to the questions posed by the NSA, and above all we need to find the right people to defend this great country and give us a sense of peace and security within our own borders. Throwing blame, hearsay and innuendo at people once they are out of government also smacks of hypocrisy. We cannot continue to expose ourselves like this at the highest level, it is just a crushing indictment on our nation.
We don’t have a very large Armed force guarding 200 million people and the many thousands of kilometers of our open borders, but we are lucky that we do have gallant, brave, patriots in uniform that guard and protect this great nation and its people. This is not a political matter, this is not a matter to score points on, this matter deserves the full attention of every single one of us as Nigerians.
–Prince Ado-Ibrahim wrote from Azad Palace, Okene